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The Black Dahlia: The Crime Graphic Novel

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LAPD investigators Bucky Bleichart and Lee Blanchard find themselves enthralled with the mysterious and brutal murder of a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth Short. Their obsession takes a dark turn as they delve into the underbelly of Hollywood and the heart of the dead woman’s tortured and twisted past. It is a case that will test their mettle and their sanity. This grippi LAPD investigators Bucky Bleichart and Lee Blanchard find themselves enthralled with the mysterious and brutal murder of a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth Short. Their obsession takes a dark turn as they delve into the underbelly of Hollywood and the heart of the dead woman’s tortured and twisted past. It is a case that will test their mettle and their sanity. This gripping graphic novel adaptation of the bestselling novel by James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia, delves deeply into one of the most haunting unsolved crimes in American history. Acclaimed storyteller Matz (The Killer) and award-winning filmmaker David Fincher (Gone Girl, Zodiac) worked at length to preserve much of Ellroy's original dialogue while bringing the stark images of 1940s LA to full, living color with illustrator Miles Hyman.


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LAPD investigators Bucky Bleichart and Lee Blanchard find themselves enthralled with the mysterious and brutal murder of a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth Short. Their obsession takes a dark turn as they delve into the underbelly of Hollywood and the heart of the dead woman’s tortured and twisted past. It is a case that will test their mettle and their sanity. This grippi LAPD investigators Bucky Bleichart and Lee Blanchard find themselves enthralled with the mysterious and brutal murder of a beautiful young woman, Elizabeth Short. Their obsession takes a dark turn as they delve into the underbelly of Hollywood and the heart of the dead woman’s tortured and twisted past. It is a case that will test their mettle and their sanity. This gripping graphic novel adaptation of the bestselling novel by James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia, delves deeply into one of the most haunting unsolved crimes in American history. Acclaimed storyteller Matz (The Killer) and award-winning filmmaker David Fincher (Gone Girl, Zodiac) worked at length to preserve much of Ellroy's original dialogue while bringing the stark images of 1940s LA to full, living color with illustrator Miles Hyman.

30 review for The Black Dahlia: The Crime Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I just read Rick Geary's treatment of the Black Dahlia, which focuses as much as possible on the actual unsolved case of Elizabeth Short, and while short, at 79 pages, it is dense and helps you get to know the murdered girl. Or, I think you do. By far better known is James Ellroy's detective novel, which, no, I have not yet read, but this graphic adaptation of his novel has a very different take on Short, makes her out to be a very different kind of woman than the one Geary depicts, though he la I just read Rick Geary's treatment of the Black Dahlia, which focuses as much as possible on the actual unsolved case of Elizabeth Short, and while short, at 79 pages, it is dense and helps you get to know the murdered girl. Or, I think you do. By far better known is James Ellroy's detective novel, which, no, I have not yet read, but this graphic adaptation of his novel has a very different take on Short, makes her out to be a very different kind of woman than the one Geary depicts, though he largely ignores her to focus on the tale of two detectives who got entangled in her case, and came to unfortunate ends. The publisher of this graphic novel says of it, "In this fictionalized treatment of a real case, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, both LA cops obsessed with the Black Dahlia, journey through the seamy underside of Hollywood to the core of the dead girl's twisted life," but I didn't find that to be true. We get more of the core of the two detectives and a web of lives almost everyone involved weaves. In other words, Ellroy takes Short's murder and makes something completely different with it. Something very good, I think, complicated and finally very entertaining, but in this adaptation, wanting in some respects. This adaptation is created by filmmaker David Fincher (Gone Girl, Seven) and Matz (The Killer), and illustrated my Myles Hyman. There's some of the original dialogue from Ellroy, but there's to much story to tell in what is--admittedly, an ambitious--178 page graphic novel. It's hard to follow, and now I long to read Elroy's story in its full elaboration. The worst thing about this adaptation is the art work from Hyman; it's flat, many of the characters look alike, it's too bright and precise to create the proper noir feel that someone like Sean Phillips (Criminal) can convey. It's still a good story, don't get me wrong, but it just makes you work harder than you want to. On to the straight Ellroy version; I know, it's backwards, but I am going to get to know this story in a few ways (and see the film, if anyone thinks it is any good).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Ugh, I did nooottt like this one bit. I don't read a lot of noir/crime things, so I always forget how misogynistic and racist they are. I've never read James Ellroy before, so I can't speak to how faithful this adaptation is but I seriously can't even be bothered to care because everything about this grated on me, so I doubt I would like the original work anyway. First off, I should mention that I thought this would be a non-fiction work about the Black Dahlia; I wasn't aware that this was a adap Ugh, I did nooottt like this one bit. I don't read a lot of noir/crime things, so I always forget how misogynistic and racist they are. I've never read James Ellroy before, so I can't speak to how faithful this adaptation is but I seriously can't even be bothered to care because everything about this grated on me, so I doubt I would like the original work anyway. First off, I should mention that I thought this would be a non-fiction work about the Black Dahlia; I wasn't aware that this was a adaptation of a fictional work. This definitely messed with my expectations and I was disappointed that this wasn't a non-fiction account. Secondly, the ART. I'm kind of torn because the colouring is so very nice. It's kind of sepia which fits the ambiance and time period, and the architecture/backgrounds are beautiful, but the way the faces are drawn is SO BAD. The main character looked like a deformed Ken doll or something. Also, and this is a personal thing, but there was a weird amount of sex?? This normally doesn't bother me, but it felt kind of gratuitous imo. Last thing: while I'm all for polyamorous relationships among consenting adults, the romantic situation in this involving the MC, his bestie and his bestie's wife read as a creepy male fantasy to me. There was so chemistry between the MC and the wife and just, I don't know. It seems to convenient that he and his BFF would share a girlfriend (until their friendship goes to shit). If you're a fan of the original novel maybe give this a try? Otherwise, this is a hard pass for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Josée

    I didn't find this graphic novel "gripping" at all. Instead of a crime fiction with mystery or intrigue, the plot was mainly about the detective. After about 30 pages where we learn about his boxing career, I settled in to try and enjoy something closer to a biopic. It worked for a bit, but then nothing else happened besides a guy having sex and the ending just turned me off completely. Art wise, it's okay, but I have a major problem with the faces beingcompletely forgettable. I liked the colours I didn't find this graphic novel "gripping" at all. Instead of a crime fiction with mystery or intrigue, the plot was mainly about the detective. After about 30 pages where we learn about his boxing career, I settled in to try and enjoy something closer to a biopic. It worked for a bit, but then nothing else happened besides a guy having sex and the ending just turned me off completely. Art wise, it's okay, but I have a major problem with the faces beingcompletely forgettable. I liked the colours and the art was certainly distinctive in its style, yet every character had near identical faces. Another issue is that the nudity, which felt gratuitous and was definitely slanted towards women (didn't even see a man's butt, c'mon), had the same problem in that every naked woman had the same body. I felt this made an already lack of interest in the plot worse. So, overall, it was disappointing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mateen Mahboubi

    Having recently been listening to the Hollywood and Crime podcast which has so far been focusing on the Black Dahlia deaths, I was interested in exploring the case from a different source and seeing this released made me interested in seeking it out. Unfortunately it left me disappointed. I didn't know about the original James Ellroy book but this just uses the death of Elizabeth Short to tell a fictional tale about two investigators. A bit too fiction for my liking and not particularly interest Having recently been listening to the Hollywood and Crime podcast which has so far been focusing on the Black Dahlia deaths, I was interested in exploring the case from a different source and seeing this released made me interested in seeking it out. Unfortunately it left me disappointed. I didn't know about the original James Ellroy book but this just uses the death of Elizabeth Short to tell a fictional tale about two investigators. A bit too fiction for my liking and not particularly interestingly illustrated.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    I haven't read the original Ellroy novel, but this appears to be a strong adaptation of that book. Despite any potential fidelity issues, the narrative presented (adapted by Matz and David Fincher) is compelling, highly textured, and enthralling. We're discussing this book on an upcoming episode of The Comics Alternative podcast.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Viktor

    Could barely tell all of the characters apart, and there's a whole lot of "tell don't show" in the end. I really liked the first 2/3 or so, but then it had to catch up to the story and finish it with lots of tell tell tell. Needed 4 or 5 more issues.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I had a tough time following who was who because of the art. Too many people looked like someone else, plus the back and forth on first and last names made it difficult as well. Also since the murder was never solved this is kind of a cop out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sunsettowers

    This is a recently released graphic novel, and a really well-done one. I read it in one day, not wanting to put it down. If you have read James Ellroy's novel, you will be familiar with the storyline, as this graphic novel is adapted from that novel. The Black Dahlia is narrated by a cop, who has his life turned upside down when he and his partner are brought in to help investigate the Black Dahlia murder. Ellroy takes the true crime of the Black Dahlia, and puts his own spin on it. Where he take This is a recently released graphic novel, and a really well-done one. I read it in one day, not wanting to put it down. If you have read James Ellroy's novel, you will be familiar with the storyline, as this graphic novel is adapted from that novel. The Black Dahlia is narrated by a cop, who has his life turned upside down when he and his partner are brought in to help investigate the Black Dahlia murder. Ellroy takes the true crime of the Black Dahlia, and puts his own spin on it. Where he takes it can sometimes go a bit off the rails, but he makes it work, and the graphic novel keeps that spirit. The artistry of the illustrations is really excellent, and makes you feel like you are right in the noir. I would definitely recommend this graphic novel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    RhiaRose

    I did not enjoy this one. I tend to enjoy true crime graphic novels but this one...nope. Very little of the book was spent on the crime. Most was about blackmail and police corruption, sex and obsession.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Louie

    Hm, I wonder how close to the movie/novel this was, because now I want to watch/read them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sbstiao

    Women are only prostitutes, non-white people only drug dealers or pimps. Who feels the need to reproduce such a story in the 21st century is either ignorant or racist. Probably both.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    An okay comics adaptation by Matz, David Fincher, and illustrator Miles Hyman of James Elroy's crime novel of the same name. There's also better film versions of the story, and better, more informative, non-fiction versions, and this one is a decent short story version but too short; a way in to the story, I guess, but I would just go long and read the novel or something else if you are interested in the sensational actual events, then see one or two film versions of the story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becky Loader

    I was disappointed in the artwork. I have read several interpretations of the Black Dahlia story, and I was looking forward to seeing the graphics.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Gordon

    The Black Dahlia is based on the book by James Ellroy which is a fictionalised account of a real crime that occurring in the 1940s. If you are a fan of noir, this story may appeal. The graphic novel flows well for an adaptation, though I wasn't overly impressed with the artwork. While competent, it is rather stiff and the characters often look quite similar. Additionally, as with many noirs, your tolerance for misogyny, racism, and people generally sucking must be high as that comes with much of The Black Dahlia is based on the book by James Ellroy which is a fictionalised account of a real crime that occurring in the 1940s. If you are a fan of noir, this story may appeal. The graphic novel flows well for an adaptation, though I wasn't overly impressed with the artwork. While competent, it is rather stiff and the characters often look quite similar. Additionally, as with many noirs, your tolerance for misogyny, racism, and people generally sucking must be high as that comes with much of the genre. It's a violent book, though the plot is delightfully complex. I am not sure how I feel about the fact that it is a fictionalised account of a real person's murder, a fact I found out only after I finished reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Xisix

    Scintillating tale of Elizabeth Short. What's interesting is that story focuses on police officers assigned to case and like a detective tale the details gradually are uncovered. Blood swirling down a drain. Enjoyed the read and makes want to read more on the case. Sleazy true crime with a brutal icon. Black Dahlia becomes a symbol.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Keelin Rita

    The art is great but I didn't realize that this was basically just like the movie. I did not put two and two together and was disappointed that this was the fictional story of the Black Dahlia and not like an actual trying to figure out what happened to her. But that's on me, cuz I'm an idiot lol

  17. 4 out of 5

    Comics Alternative

    http://comicsalternative.com/episode-... http://comicsalternative.com/episode-...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Doesn't quite translate to the medium I liked it. I followed it for the most part. I felt like the tale was too big for comic books and the characterization was flat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ShamSham

    Beautifully executed graphic novel version of "The Black Dahlia" (1987), the first book in James Ellroy's neo-noir "L.A. Quartet" series which is best known for its third installation, "L.A. Confidential". Of note, acclaimed director David Fincher ("Se7en", "Gone Girl", "Zodiac") was involved in adapting the book into comic form. He was actually supposed to be the director of the 2006 film version and his renewed engagement with the story may herald a Fincher directed film or television series in Beautifully executed graphic novel version of "The Black Dahlia" (1987), the first book in James Ellroy's neo-noir "L.A. Quartet" series which is best known for its third installation, "L.A. Confidential". Of note, acclaimed director David Fincher ("Se7en", "Gone Girl", "Zodiac") was involved in adapting the book into comic form. He was actually supposed to be the director of the 2006 film version and his renewed engagement with the story may herald a Fincher directed film or television series in the near future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    Having not actually read THIS Ellroy book I didn't know what to expect... what it was was basically Hollywood is corrupt and the Dahlia isn't really important to this story of two ex-boxer cops who are drawn so similarly that I had to use their tie colors to tell who was who. It's all wrapped up in all due haste and is totally unbelievable... Things that annoyed me, the women have no power, let's throw in some supposed incest, and how about exploiting some lesbians too? Just no.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    Graphic novel adaptation (by French comic writer Matz and film director David Fincher [!]) of James Ellroy's crime classic. Pretty solid, thanks to the original story. The artwork is...interesting. Pencil illustrations that are different than the usual comic, but at the same time many of the characters looked alike which led to too many instances of flipping back to check what was going on.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy Busick

    This is the first graphic novel I have read. Overall, it was a good story. It made me think of old black and white movies and TV shows like Dick Tracy. Having been my first graphic novel, and not being sure if I really like graphic novels I gave this 3 stars, because I just don't know. I am glad I read it though.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robert LoCicero

    So this is a pretty interesting work. I did read the original Ellroy work, The Black Dahlia, quite a while ago and was wondering how this text and its graphic accompaniment would work. Well I think it worked well and the color drawings nicely complimented the text without grabbing too much attention or leaving the text hanging there all by itself. This murder case was a famous LA case and being able to quickly read through this novel as opposed to managing the hefty writing style of author Ellro So this is a pretty interesting work. I did read the original Ellroy work, The Black Dahlia, quite a while ago and was wondering how this text and its graphic accompaniment would work. Well I think it worked well and the color drawings nicely complimented the text without grabbing too much attention or leaving the text hanging there all by itself. This murder case was a famous LA case and being able to quickly read through this novel as opposed to managing the hefty writing style of author Ellroy makes this volume perfect for non-readers or millennials who don't have the time to leisurely read a great tale. It is my first graphic novel though I have a couple of Conan graphic novels and a Solomon Kane graphic novel (That Kane character a creation of Robert E. Howard).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue Gerth

    The language was a little off putting, and the story was odd. Not quite sure what to think. Haven't read too many graphic novels; I'd really like to read a good true crime book about the Black Dahlia.

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Love

    Lacks the Punch of the Novel. The artwork wasn't particularly special. The story felt like a poorly written synopsis of the novel. I can't really recommend it. The novel I loved and this is a poor imitation of the original source material.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Aburroman

    Very captivating story, I enjoyed the different plot lines but I sometimes found myself confused and had to refer back several times to earlier passages

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    A gritty graphic novel true to Ellroy's voice.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Nickel

    Pretty average.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom Lehmann

    Good, hard-boiled plot that’s lacking in multi-dimensional characters. Doesn’t help that the artwork wildly meanders in terms of quality.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bob Green

    A graphic novel that is perhaps too graphic on the crime scene and too short on the detail of the source material.

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